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U.S. Men’s Foil Team Places Fifth, Women Finish Seventh at Senior Worlds

07/22/2014, 5:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Miles Chamley-Watson goes for a touch during the match against Great Britain. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

(Kazan, Russia) – Both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Foil Teams placed in the top eight at the Senior World Championships on Tuesday with each squad ending the tournament with  one final match win.

Although the U.S. Men’s Foil Team reached the podium three times on the World Cup circuit this season, its ranking fell to No. 4 in the world which meant that the Americans would be in the same quadrant of the draw as China – the 2011 Senior World Team Champions.

The squad of Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.), Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.) and Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) fenced Belarus in the table of 16 and won the match, 45-31.

As expected, the win put Team USA up against a Chinese team that included the current World No. 1 (Jianfei Ma), the 2012 Olympic Champion (Sheng Lei) and the reigning Junior World Champion Haiwei Chen.

Team USA led early in the match and Meinhardt pulled through with a 6-1 win against Ma for a 20-16 score for Team USA. Massialas struggled with Lei and gave up four touches while scoring one in the fifth and Imboden split his touches with Chen, 3-3, in the sixth bout. In an action-packed seventh, Team USA held its one-touch margin when Meinhardt and Lei both scored 11 touches for a 35-34 score. Ma came in as China’s eighth fencer and won his bout against Imboden to give China a 40-38 lead. In a rematch of their Junior World semifinal, Massialas took on Chen in the anchor bout, but couldn’t make up the two-touch difference and Team USA lost the bout, 45-41.

“I think there are things we could have done better and, obviously, we didn’t have the result we wanted,” Massialas said. “The Chinese team is strong and, subsequently, after they beat us, they knocked out Italy who’s the No. 1 seed so it was really a good effort on their part. We did what we could, but they fenced better today, so there’s not much we can say about that other than that we’ll be working hard to focus on the future and get them next time.”

In the first repechage match, Great Britain took a 10-5 lead after the first two bouts, but Chamley-Watson, brought the match back for Team USA with a 10-3 win against Marcus Mepstead. Imboden dropped the fourth bout to Kruse by six touches and Great Britain regained the lead with a match score of 20-16. Massialas went on a 9-4 run against Alex Tofalides to put Team USA up, 25-24. In the sixth bout, Chamley-Watson split his bout with James Davis, 5-5, and Imboden followed with a 5-3 win against Tofalides. Chamley-Watson picked up his second win of the match in the eighth where he set up Massialas with a 40-34 lead. Massialas held off Davis in the anchor bout and Team USA finished the match with a 45-40 win.

With a short turn-around between the match against Great Britain and fencing Korea for fifth place, Team USA refocused and not only did the Americans win the match, 45-31, but Massialas, Imboden and Chamley-Watson won or tied each of the nine bouts.

“It was tough, especially early in the first few bouts with Great Britain, but you have to move on and, if you dwell on the past, you can’t think about the future and, really, every bout matters here, so we just needed to focus on ending with a win,” Massialas said.

The U.S. Women’s Foil Team came into the Senior World Championships as the sixth seed and included three members of the 2012 Olympic Team – Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) – as well as 2014 Junior World Team Champion Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)

The team drew a bye into the table of 16 where Ross not only anchored the Americans to a 45-29 win against Ukraine, but she also posted a +12 indicator against her opponents. Fencing for the first time at a Senior World Championships, Massialas won each of her bouts and finished with a +5 indicator.

In the quarter-finals against France, Kiefer bested two-time Senior World team medalist Astrid Guyart, 7-5, and Ross posted a key win against two-time Senior World medalist Corinne Matirejean, 8-5; however, France still retained a 40-23 lead going into the final bout. Ross scored six on 2013 Senior World medalist Ysaora Thibus, but France finished the match with a 45-29 victory. France went on to defeat Korea in the bronze medal final.

“We’re really disappointed, first of all, that we didn’t fence France better, not necessarily that we didn’t win, but that we got flustered at the beginning. At least for me, it’s important that I feel like I showed some good fencing and I don’t think I did in that match until the end,” Ross said.  

In the first round of the 5th – 8th place bracket against China, Ross came one touch short of tying Huilin Le before the clock ran out, and China won the match, 44-43.

Team USA finished the day with a win against Poland as Ross held off a late charge by Martyna Synoradzka, a top-eight finisher at the 2011 Senior Worlds, to win the match, 45-42 for a seventh place finish.  

“We fought really hard during the day and we learned a lot about what we need to work on and improve on and I really don’t think it was a total loss at all and I’m proud of everyone and looking forward to being with them next season,” Ross said.

Preliminary rounds also were held in the men’s and women’s team epee events with both U.S. squads advancing to the table of 16 tomorrow.

The U.S. Women’s Epee Team fenced Mongolia in the table of 32 in a repeat of last year’s opening match at the Senior Worlds. The winning score was familiar for the Americans as well as Team USA defeated the Mongolians, 45-9, for the second straight year.

Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.) and Anna Van Brummen (Houston, Texas) each posted shutouts in her final bout of the match which helped give anchor Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) a 40-8 lead at the start of the ninth bout. Courtney gave up only one touch to finish the win for the Americans.

Team USA will fence in the table of 16 at 8:30 a.m. local time (12:30 a.m. Eastern) on Wednesday.

The U.S. Men’s Epee Team battled a tough Japanese squad in the table of 32 as the squad of Andras Horanyi (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Jimmy Moody (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Adam Watson (Richford, Vt.) exchanged the lead with Japan throughout the match. In the final bout, Horanyi tied the score at 33 with nine seconds on the clock in the anchor bout against Satoru Uyama who attacked on “Allez” and scored a single on Horanyi to send Japan into the table of 16 on Wednesday.

The loss means that Team USA is eliminated from the competition and will finish 18th.

For complete results, visit

Top eight results from the men’s and women’s foil team events are as follows:

Men’s Team Foil Senior World Championships
1. France
2. China
3. Italy
4. Russia
5. USA
6. Korea
7. Germany
8. Great Britain

Women’s Team Foil Senior World Championships
1. Italy
2. Russia
3. France
4. Korea
5. Germany
6. China
7. USA
8. Poland 

Tag(s): News  Race Imboden  Alexander Massialas  Gerek Meinhardt  Miles Chamley-Watson  Lee Kiefer  Nzingha Prescod  Sabrina Massialas